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Fist Language Aquisition - Essay Example

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According to Montessori, “the development of articulate speech occurs between the ages two and five – the age of perception in which the attention of the child is spontaneously directed to external objects and the memory is particularly attentive” (Montessori, The…
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Fist Language Aquisition
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First Language Acquisition According to Montessori, “the development of articulate speech occurs between the ages two and five – the age of perception in which the attention of the child is spontaneously directed to external objects and the memory is particularly attentive” (Montessori, The Discovery of the Child Chapter 18). Montessori expounds further that parents and teachers must utilize these years to help a child develop his language skills. The language learning ability of small children is amazing because they can easily learn a new language with ease unlike adults.
The first step in language acquisition of small children is the determination of sounds. Children learn words by imitating the words they hear from the people around them ( 4). They may have difficulty at first to pronounce the words correctly, but as time goes by, they acquire the correct pronunciation of the words. O’Grady and Sook, however, argue that children do not just imitate, they make their own rules based on what they observe from adults (OGrady and Sook 327). This theory is proven by a common feature of small child’s language, which is the presence of grammatical mistakes. An example of this is when kids say “goed” instead of “went” or “gooder” instead of “better.” Children might not have heard these words but have concluded that they were the right words to say based on their observation of the speech of those who surround them.
There are two patterns in the child word learning, namely the referential and the expressive ( Referential are the names of objects such as “dog” or “toy,” while expressive are the personal desires and social interactions such as “hi” or “good.” This characteristic reflects how parents are very influential in the first language acquisition of children. It is essential that when kids make a grammatical error, they should be corrected.
Another characteristic of the language of small children is the deletion of unstressed syllables and the retention of stressed syllables in their pronunciation (OGrady and Sook 332). This is because the stressed syllables are more noticeable than the unstressed ones. An example cited by O’Grady and Sook is “kangaroo” which is often pronounced as “wu” and “telephone” which may be pronounced by a child as “fow” (333). From this feature of a child’s language, it can be said that their “ability to perceive the phonemic contrasts of their language develops well in advance of their ability to produce them” (OGrady and Sook 332).
It is important to note that even mute children acquire first language even if they never get to use it ( 7). The reason behind this is that the linguistic knowledge of children outpaces their speaking ability; thus, even mute kids learn how to use language without necessarily practicing them ( 7).
Because children, like adults, are social beings, they have a natural urge to acquire a language even at an early stage. Montessori aptly puts it in her statement, “Language, we may say, grows with human thought” (Montessori, The Absorbent Mind 109). Children should, therefore, be allowed to discover for themselves new words, phrases and sentences. They create their own rules but eventually they learn to change it to adhere to what is grammatically acceptable and that which they often hear ( 48).
Works Cited
Montessori, Maria. The Absorbent Mind. New York, NY: Henry Holt & Company, 1995. Print.
Montessori, Maria. The Discovery of the Child. Delhi, India: Aakar Books, 2004. Print.
OGrady, William and Whan Cho Sook. "Chapter 10 – First Language Acquisition." n.d. 326-362. Print. First Language Acquisition. N.d. Web. 15 November 2012 . First Language Acquisition. n.d. Web. 14 November 2012 . Read More
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